Singing has been a massive part of my world for as far back as I can remember. My gran watching The 3 Tenors video when I was small and my dad listening to Queen full blast were the first glimpses I got of how powerful music could be. The kind of release and joy you could get from completely engrossing yourself in the amazing power of music. I remember being about 10 and my dad buying me a mic to plug into my stereo. I would singing for hours in my bedroom to anything and everything. I’ve always had quite a broad taste in music…….How they managed to hear the TV downstairs is beyond me, but they never came up or told me to stop.
Music has a way of grabbing my emotions and allowing them to bloom right from within my heart. It can bring the broadest smile and most raw of tears……like a therapy. If you ask Mr H he will tell you that he has always gauged my mood by how much I sing.
I definitely wouldn’t say I’m the best but I don’t think I have to be. For me it’s about the feeling I get from it, it’s about what singing gives to me. Over the years singing was very much a background thing, you know, singing along with the radio, that kind of thing, I’d always wished I had done more with it. It’s funny how things have a way of working out, paths colliding and all that. In 2005 we moved house and a whole new network of friends came into my world. Over time I got to know Gill Lisk and she happened to mention to me that she was spending her Christmas singing in a choir…..OMGoodness…..Why had I never thought about a choir? The idea of singing at Christmas (the most fabulous time of the year) filled me with excitement. As we got talking she suggested I come along and see what I thought………
It’s so hard to put into words what I was feeling on that first night. I was beyond nervous……Singing in a room with other people was something I hadn’t done since I was in the school choir and now I was a wife and full time mother. This was way out of my comfort zone. What if I was rubbish? What if the choir boss man made me sing something to prove my ability? What if I stood out like a sore thumb? I shouldn’t have worried. It was simply amazing, over 300 singers all gathered together, all with the same love as mine, all getting the same buzz.
This felt like home. It felt like I’d been waiting to discover this my whole life. This was something in my world that was just for me. I wasn’t a wife and I wasn’t a mother, I was me Helen Holmes, and I loved it. It’s hard to describe the feelings I get when I sing. I have had to learn over the years ways to improve my breathing and reach for the high notes. But as soon as I start, my body is filled with happiness, I can feel my heart growing, my soul getting restored from whatever the world has thrown at me that day or week. There are words in the songs that can bring me tears and I wonder how I’m ever going to be able to sing them to an audience….but I do every time, with passion and pride. Singing can get to parts of me nothing else can, like a medicine. It fixes me without me knowing. The work is going on within me. And then I look to my left and right and see my choir buddies and I can see in their eyes….they feel it too.
The choir is called Inspiration and in the first term with choir, I was given the opportunity to go to Paris…….So 300ish of us set out on a tour. We sang in a Cathedral, in Disneyland and on a boat…….and there’s a connection, a feeling that we all share when we sing certain songs. The tears come and the memories flood in. I’ve been in the choir now for 5 years and it’s hard work. We have to learn a lot of music by heart. But the joy and the excitement are there at the start of every term.
At the end of every term we do a concert to a paying audience at The Sage in Gateshead which is just my most favourite place so I feel doubly lucky. I do singing for me but I’m not going to lie, standing in Hall 1 hearing a full audience cheering us as we finish another amazing performance is a feeling I wouldn’t swap for the world. Singing has brought things into my life that I just don’t think I could have found anywhere else. I have met people I never would have known and I have visited places I wouldn’t have been to. It’s like being part a huge family……we all know how great singing is, and we want to tell everyone about it.